verb (used without object)
to surpass others or be superior in some respect or area; do extremely well: to excel in math.
verb (used with object)
to surpass; be superior to; outdo: He excels all other poets of his day.
The dictionary definition of excel seems to relate specifically to competing against another person in order to become the best. That is supposed to be the be all and end all, achievement & recognition of your superiority. I personally believe this is one of the greatest follies in life, why? Simply because no matter how much one achieves, there will ALWAYS be someone whom you consider or others consider better than you.
That sort of drive to best others can and will eventually break your spirit and determination whether it's through self-negativity or outside influence. I wholeheartedly believe that the only person we should be try to best is ourselves, we are our own worst critics and our best cheerleaders in everything and anything we do.
I remember for years, teachers, self help gurus and a myriad of other self important wannabes touting the rule of 5 goals in life, you must have 5 goals that you want to achieve by such and such an age in order to succeed. How do you measure success? Is it the corporate rat race? How many figures you have in the bank? How big your house is? How much stuff you have crammed in it? Perhaps these days it how much body sculpting you've had done or if your are a star in your own reality show *gag*.
Personally I find the 5 goal rule to be stifling and restrictive, there is no room for experimentation or growth and most importantly it stifles the imagination. Not to mention if you create 5 goals in your life at age 16, by 18-20 years you've got a completely different ideal and method of thinking which changes again sometime after the age of 25. So in fact you've wasted the best years of your life trying to fit the mold of what others think is the ideal of success and not really spent anytime experimenting with what you consider success.
The Challenge:I Challenge anyone who reads this to try 5 new things which are completely different from anything that you have done or normally do. It doesn't have to be major life changing events, it could be something as simple as trying out a different genre of music, taking in a musical or being in a musical, learning how to cook or learning a different method cooking. Not wearing make-up and wearing a sloppy t-shirt and jogging pants instead or the reverse for us housewives :D. ANYTHING! Kick start your imagination! Do some guerilla gardening! (Google it, it's awesome!) Try crochet or knitting! Go canoeing! Be proactive with yourself, who knows what sort of passion you might find.
My personal efforts ended up in me discovering quilting and learning how to make a fantastic loaf of french bread (Seriously, we DO NOT buy grocery store bread anymore), I can do minor electrical work around my home and grow amazing raspberries and blueberries in a Northern Canadian region. My future endevors include raising my own urban chickens, learning how to make my own batik fabrics, wood working (more like repair lol) and hedge sculpture .. that last one should be worth a few giggles!
Experimentation related to quilting will also be in the works, I know that people having been making quilts for hundreds of years and things have to be done just so, I call bull cocky to that. I agree that there are somethings that shouldn't be messed with like the basics of piecing, 1/4 in seam and all that. But there has to be more that just squares and triangles lined up just so.
I've looked at quite a few magazines and seen some quilt shows alot of the work is reproductions or what someone else has done, don't get me wrong though, those quilts are AMAZING pieces of art and some women are phenomenally talented in that respect. BUT the issue still remains that they are fundamentally the same patterns used for generations
recycled over and over. I, myself want to be a creator of patterns! I laugh because here I am with my imagination running away with me and I've only done 2 quilts and a hot pad, the second quilt technically is not complete, I could just bind it and be done with it since it is loosely quilted but I want to add some flourish with free motion quilting, which I am learning from Leah Day, who can be found here:http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.ca/p/start-here.html .
There is my passion, the want and the drive to outstrip and outdo myself and not be stuck in the box that someone else has created. I am not competing or trying to outdo anyone else, I am however challenging myself to explore different options no matter what anyone says and to improve my own skills and techniques or perhaps create my own techniques ;)